#TOBYTHOUGHTS | What age is right for kids to have social media?


First... the STORY:

Social media is a part of everyone’s daily lives -- including kids. From TikTok to Twitter, these accounts impact everything from fashion trends, to music, to politics. But with so much reach and so many unknown variables, it can also be a platform for bullying, scammers and even dangerous predators. It's hard enough for adults to separate fact from fiction on these apps, but for kids it can be a real minefield.

It’s no wonder that Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos made their daughter, Lola, wait until she was 18 to have her own public Instagram account. In an interview with Kelly and Mark revealed that it was the one really strict rule they had for their daughter -- who is now entering her sophomore year at NYU.

#TobyThoughts...

I'm the first person to admit that maybe we let our daughter, Kyla, take her life "online" earlier than maybe we should have. I can't exactly remember when it happened, and I want to think it was probably when she got into Middle School.

I'm also able to say that, yeah, I think we should have maybe been more "on it" in monitoring things she would post or share...

... but I will say this: It might not have mattered.

Here's why.

Today's kids are so much more savvy when it comes to the "virtual" or "online" world than we are. They know parents are hooked on services like Facebook... and so they avoid it OR they hop on just to be aware of what the parents are saying. When parents hopped on Instagram... they came up with "Finstagrams" to hide what they really think from parents. What does "Finstagram" mean? FAKE INSTAGRAM.

They're brilliant and, frankly, because our kids huddle with other kids... they've got new ways to do the social things they do in ways parents won't discover for a year or so.

So I can't beat myself up about this too much. If we banned her from it, she would have found a way to get around it. Not to mention, her mom and I both spend so much time on social media that it would be hypocritical of us... to say one thing and do another. At least that's what I think. The excuse that "I have to do this for work" doesn't pass muster... because truth, I make a choice to be connected, or to disconnect. And so that truth... matters.

All we can do is make a decision and do our best to be okay with it. We can provide the best advice and encourage them to be safe in an increasingly crazy online world. And... all we can do is trust.

Parenting. It ain't easy, is it?

That's life.

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